Virtalis has been awarded the contract to provide two Virtual Reality (VR) simulators to Lockheed Martin in support of the Ascent Joint Venture charged with delivering the UK Military Flying Training System (UKMFTS).
The Ascent commercial partnership comprising Lockheed Martin and Babcock, won the UKMFTS contract from the UK’s Ministry of Defence in 2008. Ascent operates within a unique partnering arrangement with Royal Air Force No 22 (Training) Group and the UKMFTS Project Team from Defence Equipment & Support.
Josh McCall, Lockheed Martin’s Rotary Wing Subcontract Manager explained: “The high fidelity of Virtalis’ VR device will contribute to Ascent’s objective to eradicate the training capability gap between training and operational aircraft. We asked Virtalis to reflect the new H135 helicopters being delivered to Ascent by Airbus Helicopters in its virtual trainers, which will be based on Virtalis’ VR Helicopter Crew Reality System (HCR). The two new simulators will be installed at RAF Shawbury where a significant amount of UKMFTS rotary wing training will be delivered. The new VR systems will be operational in the first quarter of 2018.”
Virtalis has been supplying VR helicopter crew training to the RAF for almost 20 years, delivering cost saving and bespoke solutions whilst supporting and optimising the students’ learning experience. The system evolved from voice marshalling to encompass winching and other tasks and eventually, as HCR, a full VR rear crew training environment. The new systems Virtalis will deliver to UKMFTS will still feature VR head-mounted displays in a mock-up of the real helicopter cabin, complete with winch and hand holds. Similarly, the Instructor will still be able to monitor what the students can see on a workstation while he directs the mission as it unfolds. Virtalis will aim to replicate exactly the cabin of the Airbus H135 and will also refresh the training interface.